Classroom Resources: Chemistry Basics


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  • Observations, Interdisciplinary | Elementary School

    Lab: The pH of Soil

    In this lab, students will determine and compare the pH of different types of soil from their school, homes, or neighborhoods. Students will then decide what types of plants can grow in acidic or alkaline soils.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures | Elementary School

    Lab: Settle that Soil

    In this lab, students will learn about what properties constitute soil and how it is different than “dirt.” Students will also be able to distinguish the difference between sand, silt, and clay.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change, Chemical Change | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Make a Cake!

    In this demonstration, students will learn about chemical reactions by observing the differences when 4 small cakes are baked. Each recipe will differ slightly in that one important ingredient will be left out in 3 of the 4 mixtures. Students will observe and discuss what happens when things are missing or left out of a mixture and how that effects the chemical reaction.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Mixtures, Chemical Properties, Separating Mixtures | Elementary School, Middle School

    Lesson Plan: Clean-Up Pond Pollution

    In this lesson, students will compare polluted and filtered water to observe how filtering can remove some kinds of pollutants. Students will also be asked to consider how people affect ecosystems and use the scientific method to conduct an experiment on polluted water.

  • Observations, Mixtures, Inferences, Intermolecular Forces, Scientific Method | High School

    Lab: Magic Milk

    In this lab, students will investigate the addition of detergent to a mixture of whole milk and food coloring. Students will attempt to explain the cause of their observations. Also, students will have the opportunity to manipulate the experiment and determine how other variables may impact the results.

  • Observations, Physical Properties | Middle School, High School

    Lab: Abe Goes Swimming

    In this lab, students will investigate surface tension by comparing the number of liquid drops of water and of alcohol that can be held on the surface of a penny. An optional opportunity to investigate surfactants is also provided.

  • Observations, Scientific Method | High School

    Lesson Plan: Is it Real Science or Pseudoscience?

    In this lesson, students will deepen their knowledge of the scientific method by learning how to determine if researched information is valid and if it should be used for gaining or furthering our scientific knowledge. Students will view the documentary “Mermaids: The Body Found”, a pseudo-documentary that was later reported to be a hoax by the Discovery Channel. They will then use a “Baloney Detection Kit” to analyze the authenticity of information presented through different media as scientific fact.

  • Observations, Separating Mixtures, Physical Properties, Introduction, Matter, Mixtures | Elementary School

    Activity: Sandbox

    In this activity the students will separate a mixture and classify objects by their physical properties.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties | Elementary School

    Demonstration: Will it Float?

    In this demonstration, students will observe the relationship between the density of a solution and its impact on an object’s ability to float or sink. Uncooked eggs will be placed in a tap water sample and in a salt water solution so that students can make observations and compare the results in order to make a determination regarding the density value for each item.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties, Matter | Elementary School, Middle School

    Lab: Comparing Density of Liquids & Irregular Solids

    In this lab, students will measure mass and volume, calculate density, and compare the density of given liquids and solids, inferring what causes objects to sink or float in a given liquid. 3-48

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Oxidation | Elementary School

    Lab: Apple's Oxidation

    In this lab students will learn about the chemical reaction, oxidation, using apple wedges. They will apply different substances to a number of apple wedges to determine if these applications have any impact on the oxidation process. Students will also use a control sample so that they compare their results with an apple wedge that has not had any substance added to it. Students will measure and record the time it takes to see the changes to the apple which indicate oxidation. 3-46

  • Observations, Physical Properties, Phase Changes, Matter | Elementary School

    Activity: Matter Can Taste Good!

    In this activity, students will be introduced to the general differences and organization of particles in each state of matter: solid, liquid and gas. They will have the opportunity to compare the samples and then will identify each state of matter during an edible activity.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Conservation of Mass, Stoichiometry, Conservation of Mass, Limiting Reactant, Chemical Change | High School

    Demonstration: Understanding Limiting Reactants

    In this demonstration, the teacher will perform a series of reactions between acetic acid (vinegar) and varying amounts of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in order to inflate several balloons. Students will observe the reactions and analyze the quantities of reactants used as well as the results in order to understand the concept of limiting reactants.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Physical Change | Elementary School

    Lab: Gummy Bear Investigation

    In this lab students will write a plan then conduct an experiment using the scientific method to observe the physical and chemical changes that a gummy bear will experience when placed in a solution of their choice.

  • Observations, Inferences, Conservation of Mass, Matter, Error Analysis | High School

    Lab: Investigating Mass Change

    In this lab, students perform seven different investigations in order to develop an understanding of conservation of mass.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Chemical Change, Acid, Acid Base Reactions, Chemical Change | Elementary School

    Lesson Plan: The Chemistry of Eggs

    In this lesson students will learn that vinegar can react with the Calcium in an egg shell to make it rubbery. First, the students will listen to the teacher read a book about eggs. The teacher will then put an egg in a jar with vinegar and let it set for two days. Students will make a prediction about what they think will happen to the egg, and then together they will investigate the final results.

  • Observations, Density, Mixtures, Inferences, Mixtures | Middle School, High School

    Demonstration: Density Tubes

    In this demonstration, students will have the opportunity to observe and analyze the density of a solution. Students will interpret their observations as they compare the density of the solution with plastic components.

  • Observations, Density, Physical Properties, Mixtures | Elementary School

    Activity: Discovery Tubes

    This is a fun, visual activity for young students. It allows for understanding of fundamental chemistry topics, including mixtures, miscibility, density and viscosity while analyzing a handheld colorful toy.

  • Observations, History, Conservation of Mass, Measurements, SI Units | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Video: Antoine Lavoisier Video

    This video tells the story of Antoine Lavoisier who many consider to be the father or modern chemistry. Lavoisier discovered oxygen and hydrogen and first proposed the Law of Conservation of Mass.

  • Observations, Physical Properties, History, Model of the Atom | Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    Video: Ancient Chemistry Video

    This video traces the history of chemistry from the discovery of fire, through the various metal ages, and finally to the great philosophers.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, History, Reduction, Redox Reaction, Oxidation | High School

    Demonstration: Nitric Acid Acts Upon Copper

    In this demonstration, students will hear a story about Ira Remsen and watch a demonstration that recreates her first experiment reacting nitric acid with a copper penny.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Redox Reaction, Scientific Method, Electron Transfer, Experimental Design | High School, Middle School

    Lab: Test Tube Geology

    In this lab, students will observe a reaction between an iron nail and copper(II) sulfate in a test tube over the course of several days, modeling how a similar reaction occurs to form copper deposits in the earth. Students will also modify the procedures to evaluate how changing a factor of their choice affects the results of the test tube reaction, introducing them to concepts of experimental design. It also introduces students to my version of the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH).

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Net Ionic Equation, Reduction, Activity Series, Redox Reaction, Oxidation | High School

    Lab: Fine Art of Redox

    In this lab, students will practice writing and balancing redox reactions and use the activity series to verify the outcome of a chemical reaction.

  • Observations, Density, Sublimation | High School, Middle School

    Lab: Dry Ice (High School)

    In this lab, students perform several small experiments using dry ice and record their observations.

  • Observations, Chemical Change, Interdisciplinary, Acid Base Reactions, Classification of Reactions, Chemical Change, Acid Rain, pH | High School

    Activity: Investigating Acid Rain

    In this activity, students will investigate the chemistry of acid rain through web based research. Students will also have the opportunity to observe the reaction between a common acid and a material in a week long simulation and relate their findings to the effects of acid rain.

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